As far as being a team stuck in the middle, the Jazz are a team all too familiar with it. Their defensive prowess and the leadership of Donovan Mitchell has landed them a playoff spot again in the Western Conference, but their ceiling is not exactly high.
As the 5th seed, they will likely face Portland in the first round. It is a winnable series, but a second round against the Warriors is not. Pinned up against any of the other West elite, like the Warriors, Rockets, and maybe even the Nuggets, there is no argument that says the Jazz could knock them off in a seven-game playoff series.
To truly be considered a contender, they need another piece. Could a certain point guard fro Charlotte be that piece?
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report is inclined to think so, and could involve a sign-and-trade deal with the Hornets.
“Utah and Kemba Walker can marry each other this summer without Charlotte’s help. The Jazz will have more than $33 million in cap space if their current draft position (No. 23) doesn’t noticeably improve and they waive both Derrick Favors and Raul Neto. That opportunity cost isn’t nothing. Favors has never looked like a better fit during the Rudy Gobert era. Utah is plus-2.9 points per 100 possessions with a superhero defense when they share the floor and plus-5.8 when Favors jumps center as part of bench-heavy units, according to Cleaning the Glass.”
In terms of elevating their status, Kemba Walker would bode well for them. He is an offense-oriented point guard who would add much-needed scoring to a defensive minded team.
A sign and trade would give Utah cap flexibility and would also give Charlotte a chance to get a decent return for their star point guard.
It will be interesting to see what transpires this summer.